Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Woke up this morning to this:

Supply line to the toilet burst. Awesome. Fortunately, not a lot of "stuff" damaged. All the carpeting will need to be replaced. And a bunch of drywall. Fear not, though. The quilt cave is on the other side of the basement. All the fabric is safe! Priorities, right?

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I love how this
and this

become this

Peach Butter and Plum Jam.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ballard Inspired Burlap Board

You know the feeling, when it gets to be late Sunday afternoon, and you're wondering where the weekend went and what do I have to show for my time? That was me, this past Sunday, 4:30 PM. And the answer to my question was, not so much. (I did complete a 5K earlier that morning, but I was thinking in more of a crafty way. And before you get way too impressed by my physical feats, I walked the 3.1 miles and took almost an hour doing it!)
Anyway, I wanted to make something, and time was a-wasting.

Lately, in my blog and pinterest browsing, I came across this Ballard Designs magnetic message board fairly often:
This was the ticket. I figured with a few modifications, and what I had on hand, I could whip up something. This is what I came up with.

There are quite a few tutorials on line on how to go about this. Here's my version.

For the foundation of the board, I used this old, gross baking sheet, that was heading to the recycling can:

I didn't have any burlap, but I did have some osnaburg (aka poor man's linen) leftover from previous projects. My scrap wasn't quite large enough, so I added a few inches to each side, and cut the whole thing out about 2-3 inches larger that the pan, so I could wrap the edges.
Next, to adhere the fabric to the pan. First, I tried hot glue. Let me save you some time here. Don't even try the hot glue. It's bumpy and dries much too quickly.

Instead, bring on my favorite spray glue! Give the bottom of the pan (which is going to be the front of our board) a light spraying. It does just the trick.

Smooth out your fabric as you lay it on the pan, then flip the whole thing over. Here, I just sprayed the outside edges.

Wrap your edges to the back, (front of the pan) and give them a good pinch. Mitre the corners the best you can.

For a hanger, I hot glued some twill measuring tape I had. Just a big glob of hot glue will work.
At this point, I was done with the back. You could get fancy and add another piece of fabric to cover all your mess, but it was about 5:30 at this point and I still had to make dinner.

The original board has a nicely stenciled monogram. I wanted to try some stamping. On a scrap piece of osnaburg, with some stazon, I did a practice run. Nice!

I did a little stamping all over the board. I'm by no means an expert stamper, so it's a little wonky. But, overall, I like it.

For the magnets, I found some decorative brads in my stash, snipped off the "brad" part, and used E6000 to glue some super strong magnets to the back.

So, in about an hour and a half (including photos!) here is my finished magnet board:

And my feeling of accomplishment was complete!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Denyse Schmidt Quilts Pattern

When Denyse Schmidt came out with her line of fabrics for JoAnn's, she also came out with a quilt pattern, published by McCall's. I found it online, but wasn't ready to pay upwards of $19.95 (really, Purl Soho?) This weekend, JoAnn's had their McCall patterns on sale for $1.99. That, I can afford! I was lucky to find one in stock. The pattern is named Spool.

Since we quilters don't usually cut out patterns (unless it's applique or templates, both of which I try to avoid) I was curious what a quilt pattern pattern would look like. This is it:

It's a real pattern! That you would cut out and lay out (layouts included in the instructions) just like a dress or pants. Huh. I don't really see myself ever making a quilt this way. And I think it's a little ironic that such an improvisational quilt designer like Denyse Schmidt comes out with a pattern that you can cut out exactly to have your very own improvisational quilt. But, there you go.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A little this, a little that...

I'm an on again, off again thrifter. Usually, when I have a good find, it will spur me to keep looking. Last week, while in Virginia Beach, I found 2 decent vintage sheets. That's all the encouragement I needed to strike out a few times this week. Frankly I've been a little disappointed in the Baltimore thrift scene. All I could were Goodwills and Salvation Armys. Then, with a little googling, I found something called Value Village. Seemed promising. Then I talked to my friend Linda, and she said, "oh, I love Value Village!" Who knew? Well, apparently lots of people. Here's what I found this week:
The yellow Pyrex comes from SA. I want to state for the record that I am not collecting Pyrex. Repeat, I am not collecting Pyrex. But, I do have a thing for bowls, so I allowed myself this lovely #404 (and those of you who do collect Pyrex I'm sure are most impressed that I know the number of the bowl!) Next is my minty fire king bowl (is it considered jadeite?)  from my new favorite place, Value Village. Again, not collecting fire king, but for $.90, how could I pass it up? The knitting needles? I have no idea why I bought them. I have no intention of learning to knit. I'm strongly resisting learning to knit. But heck, they're useful for things other than knitting, right? But just in case, got any simple knitting patterns? Last is my make my heart beat faster vintage sheet, also from VV. Looks like it's brand new with only the tiniest smudge of dirt, which I'm confident will come out.  Can't wait to work this into a quilt!

Next, on this and that, The Farmer's Wife QAL. This flickr group started up in early June, and I enthusiastically jumped right in. I bought my book, printed out templates, joined the yahoo group, and then nothing. Nada. Nary a block. I don't know what the problem was, but I couldn't get started. Actually, I kind of know what the problem was. I was seeing all these other great quilters with their great blocks and their great color schemes and I got intimidated. I mean, what if I do it wrong or choose the wrong colors. What if it comes out a hot mess? And so, nothing. Until yesterday. Tada...

My first two blocks: Attic Windows and Autumn tints. I decided to just haul out my bucket of scraps, choose what fabrics I happen to like in that moment, and make a block. Simple. And if it doesn't work out, it doesn't matter. It's about learning new things, right? I decided to do the book in order, instead of jumping all around. Easier to keep track of, and one less decision to make. I think the QAL is officially in it's 15th week, so about 30 blocks done. I figure, if I squeeze in one block per day, I'll catch up by the end of October. Or not.

Vintage Sheet WIPs. I've got two of them, both of which I hope to wrap up by the end of the weekend. The first is my VS dresdens, from my Bee Vintage bee. I've got 12  16" blocks, which should make a nice sized lap quilt. I think the blocks need some sashing so I've been auditioning colors.
First, with Kona mint:

The second is with Kona celery:

(Sorry for the crummy quilt cave pictures.) At first, I thought the mint would give it a more vintagey feel. But now I'm kinda leaning towards the celery. What do you think?

My other VS WIP is my 100 squares blocks. I've got 11 so far, so will have to make at least one more.
I may also add 4 nine patches to square it up. The blocks are 15". I want this to ultimately be a picnic blanket, so 60"x60" should be a good size. Sashing? No sashing? Opinions welcome!

So, that's what's been going on around here. Got any sewing plans this weekend?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Vintage Baby!

I have an on again/off again relationship with Vintage Sheets. I love the way finished products look, but they're kind of a pain to work with. I mean, first of all, you have to find the dang things. Not always easy. And then once you find them, you have to prewash and sometimes pretreat (I never prewash my quilting fabrics, unless it's a red, and sometimes not even then. BTW, Jeni has a great article on her blog about the search and care of vintage sheets.) Then there's the cutting around the worn or stained parts (or the parts that some child of the 70's took magic marker to and drew around the outside of all the flowers.) I've even thought about giving up vintage sheets all together. But then, I'll have a great day thrifting and find not one but two great sheets, or have a lovely morning stitching and put the final binding stitches in this quilt during the Ravens/Steelers game today, and I'm back in love (or at least heavy like!)

I've wanted to do an over sized log cabin style baby quilt in vintage sheets for a while now. The only thing that was stopping me is the sheets. Unlike my "quilt" fabrics, I store the vintage sheets separately, and the sheets are not usually in tidy little fat quarters or even yardage. Most often, I need to cut usable chunks out of my sheets before I can begin. Therefore, my tidy studio gets destroyed when I work with the sheets. I kind of have to psych myself up to work them.

Despite the challenges of vintage sheets, I'm thrilled with the way this turned out. I had no real plan for fabrics at the start ~ just grabbed whatever color I liked best at the time. For quilting, I did a simple 3" cross hatch. And for the first time in forever, I actually marked the quilting lines. I was using a new marking pen for this one, and got half way through when I realized it was an air soluble marker, not water soluble! (I kept thinking, I already marked that section ~ where did it go?) It became a bit of a game, to see if I could get it quilted before all the lines disappeared. And, being a bit competitive, I'm happy to announce, "My Win!" (that's what 3-4 year old Katie would say when we'd play board games, sweetie girl!)

And now that I have all my vintagey goodness still out, what else should I make before I banish them to the cupboard again? Ideas?

Oh, and by the way Way to Go Ravens!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Feeling Fallish (with Fallish tutorial!)

Kids are back to school (albeit two days late courtesy of Irene. I shouldn't complain ~ we had it easy compared to most.) A little crispness to the air. Waiting to wear my new sweaters. Yup, feeling fallish. So, over the weekend, Irene's weekend, I made up a little something something for fall.

A Fallish Mug Rug! Want to make it? Here's what you need:

strips of orange/fall colored fabric scraps, 8-9" long, various widths 1-2"
a small piece of green for the stem, about 1"x2"
batting, background and backing 10" square (again, mine were scraps)
binding fabric (I ain't gonna lie ~  this is a scrap, too. Some binding left over from another project. Figure about one length of fabric, 2 1/2" wide.)

We're going to do a bit of paper foundation piecing.
First, find a pattern. (Or, if you've got mad drawing skills, draw yourself a pumpkin!) Me, not so much. Instead, in google images I looked for "pumpkin outline" and got to this page:

See the "This one" and the box? That's the one I used. I was looking for a pretty simple shape, with not a lot of details. (If you go to google images, it's still there, just not in the exact same position) Click on that one, or whichever one you choose, and enlarge the pattern. Mine ended up about 8"x8" with the stem. Print that guy out.
Flip your pattern over, and trace the outline of the pumpkin on the other side. This is going to be the line we cut on.

Now, we start sewing down strips. We're going to be sewing right through the fabric onto the paper. To make it easier to remove the paper later, reduce your stitch length. On my machine, I went down to a 1.5. Grab your pattern, right side up. Place your first strip on the paper. It doesn't have to be perfectly straight (unless that makes you crazy. In that case, make it straight!) I don't pin it. You can if you'd like. Or a little bit of glue stick on the wrong side of the first strip to anchor it also works. Take your second strip and align the straight edges. Sew, using a 1/4 inch seam.
Press or finger press seam open. Continue to add strips until right side is covered. Then, add strips to left side (flip pattern so that the stem is now on the bottom, so you can continue to use your 1/4 inch foot, if you have one) until the pumpkin is completely covered.
It's going to look something like the above picture. Flip your pattern to the back side. With a ruler, draw a line about a 1/4 inch above the top of the pumpkin, on the stem. This will be where we attach the stem.
Using the drawn line on the back of the pattern, cut out your pumpkin, including the 1/4" stem. It should look something like this:

Flip your pumpkin to the backside again to remove the paper. I fold the paper on the seam line, give it a little score with my finger nail, and gently tear it away. Just don't tug too hard where your lines of stitching begin and end.

Trim the stem fabric to your liking, being sure to add a quarter inch to the length for the seam allowance, and add to the pumpkin.
Give your pumpkin a good pressing!

Next, make your quilt sandwich. Backing fabric wrong side up, batting, background fabric (black in my mug rug) right side up. I used a little spray baste to keep them from shifting. Place pumpkin onto quilt sandwich. You can pin, if you'd like. Again, I spray basted. (Yes, I love my spray basting!)

I did some simple straight line, in the ditch quilting to hold this together. Then, at the suggestion of a friend (thanks, Samm!) I tried the blanket stitch on my machine to outline the pumpkin. Not as scary as I thought. Definitely will practice it again.

Trim your quilt sandwich to size, add your binding, and now you're feeling fallish, too!

While I had all my Halloween/fall fabric out, I made up a little table runner, too!

Super simple ~ sewn in strips. The cat/ghost fabric was all one fat quarter. I just sliced it up, along with 2 fat eights of spider web fabric. Hope you enjoy the projects! Let me know if you make one!